Monday, November 26, 2012

The movie "Lincoln"

National Archives copy of the Thirteenth Amendment

After watching the movie "Lincoln" and seeing the personal attributes of President Abraham Lincoln and what it took to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, I can understand the deep affection that Union soldiers such as my ancestor Private Hiram Terman of the 82nd Ohio had for the President.  The scene that sent chills up my spine and tears to my eyes was of the celebration in Congress after passing the amendment as they sang "Rally 'Round the Flag".  I wonder if the ancestral genes of my Civil War ancestor in my being were stimulated.  Although some say this is not an academic historical portrayal (for one historian's opinion click here) I heartily recommend the movie.

Back then they called Lincoln a dictator, a baboon, the original gorilla, and things much worse.  He was hated and loved at the same time.  The genius of democracy is that things still got done like passing the 13th Amendment in a time as racially divided and politically aggressive as the Civil War era. 

My guideline for political discourse today with someone I disagree:  " I respect a person's right to have an opinion even if it conflicts with my passionately held basic beliefs.   However, because I am civil and respectful in my discourse does not mean that I approve of his position, just that I recognize his personhood and that he, like I, is human, a child of God, with all the limits, rights, and responsibilities that that entails."


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